The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.
From the best-selling author of Cosmopolitanism comes this revealing exploration of how the collective identities that shape our polarized world are riddled with contradiction.
“Appiah believes we’re in wars of identity because we keep making the same mistake: exaggerating our differences with others and our similarities with our own kind…Appiah’s writing is often fresh, even beautiful…We need more thinkers as wise as Appiah.”
–Anand Giridharadas, New York Times Book Review
“In his excellent new book, “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity,” Kwame Anthony Appiah takes on an estimable, if — at first glance — naive pursuit. In an era of Brexit, the 2017 Charlottesville incident, and ‘I Really Don’t Care, Do U?,’ Appiah hopes to inspire a rethinking of our restrictive and therefore divisive notions of who we are.”
— Clifford Thompson, The Washington Post Outlook
From W.W. Norton in the United States and Profile Books in Britain, and forthcoming in French, German and Italian editions
Here are six articles by Kwame Anthony Appiah that draw on the ideas in the book:
“Go Ahead, Speak for yourself” New York Times Opinion Saturday Review
“Why social class matters, even if we don’t agree what it means” Chronicle of Higher Education
“Five Books About Individuality” Book Marks
“Crazy Rich Identities” The Atlantic
“Thank you for ‘Condescending'” New York Times Magazine First Words
“Can a Philosopher Help Calm the Identity-Politics Wars?” New York Magazine Intelligencer
From the Publisher: We all know how identities―notably, those of nationality, class, culture, race, and religion―are at the root of global conflict, but the more elusive truth is that these identities are created by conflict in the first place. In provocative, entertaining chapters, Kwame Anthony Appiah interweaves keen-edged argument with engrossing historical tales―from Anton Wilhelm Amo, the eighteenth-century African child who became an eminent European academic, to Italo Svevo, the literary genius who changed countries without leaving home―and reveals the tangled contradictions within the stories that define us. The concept of the sovereign nation, Appiah shows us, is incoherent. Our everyday notions of race are the detritus of discarded science; the very idea of Western culture is a shimmering mirage. These beliefs, and more, are crafted from confusions―confusions Appiah sorts through to imagine a more hopeful future. An arresting argument from one of our leading philosophers, The Lies That Bind will transform the way we think.